Marquette Holds Off Charging Kingsford for 1-Point Finals Victory

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 5, 2022

KINGSFORD — The Marquette boys retained their Upper Peninsula Division 1 track & field championship here Saturday, as they squeezed past the Kingsford Flivvers 138-137.

The Houghton Gremlins placed third with 56 points.

Marquette held a three-point lead heading into the day’s final race, the 1,600-meter relay.

Kingsford won it in 3 minutes, 35.29 seconds, but Marquette secured the team title by placing second (3:36.01).

Marquette junior Carson VanderSchaaf set a UPD1 record in the 3,200 at 9:46.53 seconds, shaving more than three seconds off the old mark (9:50.03) by Lance Rambo of Marquette in 2015.

VanderSchaaf also took the 1,600 (4:23.45), followed by his twin brother Colin (4:28.46) for Marquette, which also won the 3,200 relay (8:32.36) on a sunny and warm day at Flivver Field.

Colin VanderSchaaf later took the 800 (2:00.79). He was followed by Houghton senior Eric Weiss (2:03.18) and teammate Cullen Papin (2:03.77).

Kingsford trackWeiss was also runner-up in the 3,200 (10:07.12) and third in the 1,600 (4:37.2).

Cayden Dahlen provided Marquette with a first in discus (139-8), and Sam Markey captured the 110 hurdles (16.64)

Kingsford showed its depth in the sprints with Michael Floriano taking second in the 100 (11.51), followed by Diego Przeslakowski (11.67) and Cardel Morton (11.81).

Floriano then won the 200 (23.12), edging teammate Trestan Larson by two hundredths of a second.

Przeslakowski added a first in the 300 hurdles (40.76), and the Flivvers took the 400 relay (44.2) and 800 (1:33.22).

Kingsford’s Lucas Tappy won shot put (47-1) and Cole Myllyla gained top honors in long jump at 20 feet, 2¾ inches with Marquette’s Tyranon Dahlin runner-up at 20-1¼.

Calumet’s Dryden Nelson captured the 100 (11.37) and placed third in the 200 (23.39), and Houghton’s Cade Holombo took the 400 (51.39), edging Morton by one tenth of a second.

Menominee senior Brady Schultz retained his high jump title at 6-7 after also setting the meet and his school’s record at 6-8 at last year’s UPD1 Finals.

Schultz added an inch this spring to his former school record leap, soaring 6-9 at the Marinette, Wis., Invitational on May 9.

Ishpeming Westwood had an individual champion in pole vault as Lenny Pizziola jumped 12 feet to edge Sault Ste. Marie’s Jackson Gervasio by six inches.

Marquette's Jim Bennett and Sault Ste. Marie's Johnny Osborn competed in the first-time adaptive races. Bennett won the 100 (24.31), 200 (47.52) and 400 (1:39.74), and also competed in shot put (13-4). 

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) On the second corner of the final lap of the 3,200 relay, Houghton's Eric Weiss, Marquette's Carson VanderSchaaf, and Sault Ste. Marie's Jonathan Willis are neck-in-neck. Marquette's VanderSchaaf was able to hold off Houghton's Weiss for second place, and Sault Ste. Marie's Willis took third. Other members of the winning Marquette team were James Kraeg, Adam White, and Braden Ketzenberger. (Middle) Kingsford's Trestan Larson starts the winning 800 relay. Teammates included Brody Kopp, Michael Meneguzzo, and Diego Przeslakowski. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/Run Michigan.)


Hackett Catholic Prep's Baldwin Carrying Hopes from Home to Paris

By Pam Shebest
Special for

July 12, 2024

KALAMAZOO — Heath Baldwin studied Spanish at Hackett Catholic Prep, but he will need to brush up on some French as he heads to Paris to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The recent Michigan State University grad, who earned a master’s degree in marketing and research analytics, will compete in the decathlon, a two-day event Aug. 2-3 at the Stade de France.

While the Olympics will be televised in the United States, because of the time difference, Baldwin’s events will take place locally during the early morning hours.

Wishing him a Bon Voyage, more than 200 former classmates, friends, family and well-wishers plus six television crews congregated Thursday for an impressive sendoff, starting with the Hackett “Summer Ensemble” playing the school fight song.

A 2019 Hackett grad, Baldwin led the track & field team to three Regional championships, two MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 titles, was an individual five-time Finals champion, holds four school records and was named track & field Athlete of the Year for all divisions his senior season by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association.

“I went through a lot at Hackett, obviously, with my dad (Roger)  passing away (in 2016) and I always had a great support system of people who took care of my family and made sure we were doing good,” Baldwin said. “They’ve stuck with me through college, too, following me in all my events and to this point, so it’s cool that I’m doing well now and they’re along for the ride.”

Hackett clears a hurdle during the 2019 MHSAA Finals.The ride will begin Tuesday when Baldwin travels to Germany to train before heading to Paris.

“Everything’s starting to feel more real,” he said. “I think once I get to Germany and start to train with other people, we’ll be able to get a little competitive. I think it will be fun training in Paris.”

Facing a huge crowd in Paris should not be a problem, he said.

“The more people will only help me. I’m a big adrenalin guy. I feel like I get more nervous talking at an event like this than I do for the Olympic Games.

“Once I get out on the track, everything just feels natural to me.”

Naturally a no-brainer

Baldwin’s Finals championships for Hackett had come in high jump, long jump and both hurdles races. Tackling the grueling decathlon was a no-brainer.

“I was good at the hurdles, high jump, long jump, which are three very technical events in the decathlon, so if you’re good at those three, you usually can pick up the other ones pretty easily is what they say,” he said.

“Also, I played baseball as a pitcher, so that correlated with the javelin. A lot of college coaches recruited me off that, I think.”

Baldwin said knew 2024 was an Olympic year, “so I thought it was something I maybe could do. After last year, when I scored above 8,000 points (in the decathlon) for the first time and came in sixth at the USAs, it became a little more realistic for me.”

The personable athlete not only qualified for the Olympics at this year’s U.S. Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., but won the decathlon with a personal best 8,625 points.

He finished first in the shot put (54 feet, 2½ inches), high jump (6-11¾), 110 hurdles (13.77 seconds) and javelin throw (218-9). 

MHSAA trophies Baldwin helped win decorated the stage for his sendoff.Other decathlon events are the 100 dash, long jump, 400 run, discus, pole vault and 1,500 run.

Baldwin earned Great Lakes Region Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year honors and was named first team Academic All-American with a 3.8 GPA.

"We were awestruck at his athletic achievements (at Hackett),” said Judge Paul Bridenstine, the “Voice of the Irish.” 

“While he continued to play football, basketball, baseball exceptionally at Hackett, his athletic life was transformed when he was introduced to (former HCP track & field coach Simon Cholometes).”

Cholometes said Baldwin’s success is something that didn’t come out of nowhere.

“Heath put the wheels in motion a long time ago and worked harder than most people can even fathom,” he said. “I can remember 5:40 in the morning, Heath running sprints up that hill over there,” he said, pointing. “A foot of snow, running sprints up that tall hill.

“In college, he’s a Big 10 champ, three-time All-American, Great Lakes Region Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, MSU’s Athlete of the Year twice, holds five school records plus Big 10 records in heptathlon and decathlon.”

Family won't be far

Baldwin plans to be in Paris for the opening ceremonies and will be cheered on by his mom Suzann, sister Hope and brothers Aiden and Gowan.

The Olympian also will have a remembrance of his late father with him. He has a tattoo of his dad’s signature on the inside of his upper left arm.

A hurdle that was gifted to Baldwin on Thursday.Losing his father “was a big part of my life and obviously changed my perspective in the way I train and the way I live in a way he’d be proud of,” Baldwin said.

“We set some big goals going into this year and it’s been a dream. I love representing the Kalamazoo community and Michigan, Hackett and Michigan State.

“I like to remember everybody I compete for, and I think that gives you a bigger purpose when you go out there. That’s definitely something I’ll be doing at the Olympics in Paris. I’m excited to represent there and hopefully go for a medal.”

PHOTOS (Top) Health Baldwin, seated, signs a hat during his sendoff Thursday at Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep. (2) Baldwin clears a hurdle during the 2019 MHSAA Finals. (3) A hurdle was gifted to Baldwin on Thursday. (4) MHSAA trophies Baldwin helped win decorated the stage for his sendoff. (Sendoff photo by Pam Shebest.)